To counteract the spread of COVID-19, many in-person events have gone virtual. If your business is considering hosting a virtual event, here are nine event platforms you can consider.
Hosting a virtual event or conference is a great way to create a fun and engaging experience for your customers and clients. However, the platform you use can make all the difference in how smoothly your event runs.
Back in January, Zoom was being used by about 13 million people and in businesses only. Now it’s morphed into a service used by more than 300 million attendees, and they’re from all over the map. This is mostly because it’s exceedingly easy to download/install and use and can accommodate an unlimited number of users at an event. The audio and visual quality of Zoom also is generally top-notch, depending upon your connection, and the company--founded by Eric Yuan, the former chief developer of Webex--keeps adding features on a regular basis. Right now it’s No. 1, but there is plenty of competition to keep Zoom on its toes.
Webex was the first widespread-use video collaboration service, bought by Cisco a few years ago and used mostly by companies. Because it’s well-embedded in corporate communications systems, it has strong roots and is difficult to dislodge for daily use. Generally, it is dependable, although there are those who believe Zoom is simpler to use and is generally of better quality. For most users, however, it’s mostly a tossup.
San Francisco-based ON24 markets products and services based upon webcasting and virtual event and environment technology. In 2003, ON24 introduced a web-based video publishing platform that enables users to self-produce live and on-demand webcasts. ON24 Webcast Center has been adopted across the publishing, medical education and enterprise sectors. ON24 launched the Platform 10 communications platform in 2011. Platform 10 now features social media integration and mobile device delivery. All ON24 products are based on the platform, including Webcast Elite, a do-it-yourself webcasting solution which was also launched in 2011. ON24 now integrates with marketing automation partners such as Marketo, Eloqua, Exact Target, Hubspot, Microsoft CRM, NetSuite, Salesforce, Silverpop and Act-On. ON24 now is focusing on providing a webinar-based solution for marketers.
Accelevents is an affordable, all-in-one virtual event platform. The company was founded in 2014 and is known for its 24/7 phone and email service. It integrates with hundreds of other apps so you’ll be well-prepared on the day of your event. The software is easy to use and navigate but still robust enough to have all the major features you need to host an online event. This includes features like online ticket sales, virtual booths, breakout sessions, AI, gamification and more. If you’re accustomed to attending in-person events, then switching to virtual events can be a tough transition. But Accelevents puts an emphasis on helping your attendees build relationships and have a memorable experience. After the event is over, you’ll have access to detailed analytics. These will help you determine which sections were the most engaging and gauge the overall ROI of your event.
Whova is a virtual event platform that focuses on making online events highly interactive. It does this through live Q&As, discussion boards, virtual meetups and session feedback. Your guests can attend sessions from any device, but all of your sessions will be streamed and recorded from one place. There’s also a community board and chats to foster deeper connections among event attendees. If you have event sponsors, Whova makes it easy for you to showcase them throughout your event. This ensures that everyone involved gets a great ROI.
6Connex has been around since 2009 and recently expanded into the virtual event space. This platform is a good option for anyone who’s looking to host a virtual trade show. The company provides a robust trade room show floor, allowing participants to customize their booths. People can register for the event ahead of time, which makes it easy to communicate with your guests once the event is over. The software also comes with gamification features to increase guest participation. Most importantly, 6Connex provides robust analytics to track the performance of your event once it’s done. This will help you evaluate what went well and spot any areas where you could stand to improve. Participants can visit virtual booths, view demos and participate in interactive live sessions.
SpotMe is a great option if you’re looking to increase engagement at your virtual events. The platform comes with engagement tools like live Q&A, breakout rooms and polls and surveys. Guests can check out different vendors at virtual booths and even exchange business cards with other participants. The software also sends personalized alerts to your audience, so your guests will keep coming back throughout the day. SpotMe will create an event that reflects your company with personalized branding options. And there are templates for different types of events, so you’re never starting completely from scratch.
Communique Conferencing offers a unique 3D experience that your guests will love. Participants can visit virtual booths, view demos and participate in interactive live sessions. The displays are incredibly realistic and mirror what you would experience at an in-person trade show. The software also comes with audience engagement tools like polling and live Q&A’s. All keynote speeches and seminars are delivered in real-time, though you can make them available through a podcast or webinar as well. The company provides 24/7 support so you’ll have everything you need on the day of your event. However, you will have to contact the company to receive a custom pricing quote.
BigMarker is a great option for your next virtual event or conference. The company is known as a leader in the virtual event space and can host single- or multi-day events. The company has worked with well-known brands like Google, McDonald’s and SoFi. The company integrates natively with popular CRMs like Hubspot and Salesforce, so you can utilize the event as part of your broader business goals. The software comes with a ton of features, including marketing tools, automation features and interactive video. And BigMarker receives high marks when it comes to customer satisfaction and support.
A portion of this article was originally published in USChamber.com.